Does your family love pho? If you’re already a fan, these five amazing pho restaurants in San Diego are can’t miss stops for a great bowl of the amazing Vietnamese traditional noodle soup. And if you’ve never had it, well, you’re missing out!
Pho, a simple soup containing rice noodles and chicken or beef, originated in the early 1900’s. You can garnish it with basil, mint leaves, bean sprouts and lime — or leave it as is for pickier eaters. Pho is a great family meal because while it’s much better than typical deep friend kids’ menu fare, it’s a food that most children enjoy. Plus, what child doesn’t love sucking in long noodles and playing with chopsticks? As a major bonus, pho is usually on the less expensive side and a family of four can dine out for less than $25 if you order a few large bowls to share among the kids and adults. Ready to try pho for the first time? Check out one of our favorite pho stops in San Diego.
Pho San Marcos
For North County families, this beyond basic pho restaurant is a great find. Pho San Marcos is small and simple, but very clean. The service is fast and efficient. During off times, it seems slow, but during the lunch and dinner rush, the place fills up with diners — especially families. Don’t worry, though. The popularity doesn’t mean you won’t have your bowls of pho in front of you fast. If you need booster seats or high chairs, there’s no shortage, making this an even better choice for families who want pho!
700 South Rancho Santa Fe Road
San Marcos, Ca
You can be in and out in record time, so for kiddos with short restaurant attention spans, Pho Cali is a safe bet. It has only one room like most Vietnamese restaurants, but it’s very large and has tons of tables. The noise level can be a little high during busy times, but that’s great for families with “expressive” younger kids. High chairs and booster seats are plentiful. But most importantly, the pho is amazing. For parents, sometimes it’s the small things: you don’t even have to ask the servers for scissors to cut the noodles for your kiddos because they’re on top of it. The prices are reasonable, but you can print a coupon from their website for 10 percent off of your entire bill.
1400 Camino de la Reina
San Diego, Ca
Saigon on Fifth
For diners who want the ambiance of the restaurant to be as good as the pho, Saigon on Fifth is the perfect choice. While this is a more upscale Vietnamese restaurant — real tablecloths are the giveaway! — it is still very family friendly. The employees are great with kids and there’s no shortage of high chairs and booster seats. Features of Saigon on Fifth include the full bar, patio, multiple dining areas and late hours, although the last is of little importance to families. Saigon on Fifth is on the pricier side when compared to other Vietnamese restaurants, but Downtown Community Magazine almost always has a coupon for Saigon on Fifth, generally for 20 percent off of your entire bill.
3900 5th Avenue
San Diego, Ca
Mignon Pho and Grill
Squarely between the basic Pho San Marcos and the cloth napkin wielding Saigon on Fifth lies Mignon Pho and Grill. It’s a nicer restaurant with modern decor, yet it’s still very laid back with an open, one-room layout. Mignon Pho and Grill is a little fancier than your average pho joint, but it has a casual, friendly vibe. Oh, and they serve up an amazing bowl of pho. The family that owns it also owns a popular eatery in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, so the recipes are authentic and delish. You’ll see lots of families enjoying lunch and dinner here, perhaps because the service is great — and fast!
3860 Convoy Street
San Diego, Ca
Pho Fifth Avenue
Also located in Hillcrest and just around the corner from Saigon on Fifth lies Pho Fifth Avenue. And wow, do they make a mean bowl of pho. This Vietnamese restaurant is known for its signature pho filet mignon. For kiddos who prefer to sit in a booth over a chair (many pho restaurants don’t have booths), Pho Fifth Avenue fits the bill. The staff is friendly the service quick. You have to deal with Hillcrest parking, but it’s worth the trouble.
3807 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, Ca
What’s your favorite pho restaurant in San Diego?
— Laura Willard